– Dual channel dash cam
– Max. resolution: front 4K, rear 1080p
– Price: Amazon US / CA / UK / AU – eBay US / CA / UK / AU (for more countries & vendors, check below)
– No screen
– Operating temperature: from -20°C to 70°C (-4°F to 158°F)
– Storage temperature: from -20°C to 70°C (-4°F to 158°F)
– Video format: MP4
– Supports up to 128 GB MicroSD cards
– Time and date stamp on video
– Loop recording, auto on/off, G-Sensor
– Buffered parking mode
– Lock file button
– Player software for Windows / Mac
– Apps for Android / iOS
– Built-in super capacitor instead of battery
– Internal microphone and speaker
– Voice menu
– Adhesive mount
– High temperature cutoff
– Max. resolution: 4K (3840×2160) at 30 frames per second (fps)
– Max. bit rate: 25 Mbps
– Size: 118.5mm x 36mm (diameter)
– Weight: 91g
– 8 Megapixel CMOS sensor
– Angle of view: 162° diagonal, 136° horizontal, 77° vertical
– Max. resolution: 1080p (1920×1080) at 30 fps
– Max. bit rate: 10 Mbps
– Size: 67.4mm x 25mm (diameter)
– Weight: 25g
– Sony STARVIS™ CMOS sensor (approx. 2.1 MP)
– Angle of view: 139° diagonal, 116° horizontal, 61° vertical
BlackVue DR900S-2CH Review
BlackVue are definitely one of the most innovative dash cam manufacturers. This summer, they’ve yet again set a new standard: Bringing us the first dual-channel car camera that records at true 4K resolution (3840×2160) forward, and 1080p (1920×1080) to the rear. That’s quite a feat.
What’s more, they’re using a brand new codec (called H.265) that allows them to store the two video feeds using the amount of space as two 1080p channels using the old H.264 codec. So you’re not even going to need a larger memory card!
The DR900S is available also available as a single-channel version without the rear camera, this variant being called DR900S-1CH.
NOTE: If you already have a BlackVue DR750S-2CH installed in your car and would like to upgrade to 4K, you can get the DR900S-1CH model and just connect it to the DR750S’ rear camera. Rear cameras are the same for these two models, so you can even reuse all the wiring and mounts. (See below for more about upgrading from older BlackVue models.)
First of all, you won’t be able to appreciate true 4K video in all its glory unless you actually own a 4K monitor. Except for the latest gaming monitors, computer monitors today typically have a resolution of up to 1920×1080 pixels. Laptops below 15″ or so usually support even lower resolutions, not to mention tablets or smart phones.
What you can do though, even at lower resolutions, is this: Take the original 4K video and zoom in on the details, for example on other cars’ license plates when needed. If in doubt how this works, consult the documentation for your video playback software.
Our overall impression of this camera’s video quality isn’t that much better than that of a high-end 1080p cam. At day, forward video quality is very good indeed, however not that much better than what the DR750S records.
At night however, forward video quality is only fair. The reason being that under low light conditions, higher resolution sensors actually perform worse, because each individual pixel is smaller and thus less light sensitive.
For the rear camera, video quality is good at day time, and fair at night.
As for the field of view, the forward angle is quite large at 162 degrees (diagonal), covering a relatively wide area, but also resulting in loss of clarity near the right and left borders. The rear camera has a 139 degree field of view, which is fairly standard.
Buffered Parking Mode
The DR900S supports a buffered parking mode that records continually to RAM (temporary internal memory) while your car is stationary, but without writing to the memory card. If an impact is by the G-sensor, or a movement is detected visually, then a one-minute video sequence (starting a couple of seconds before the event) will be saved permanently. This mode of operation is known as buffered or true parking mode.
In order for buffered parking mode to work, your dash cam needs to have a permanent power supply. This can either be achieved by using an external battery pack (the “DIY solution”, easier to install but more costly) or by hard-wiring the camera to the car’s fuse box (using BlackVue’s Power Magic Pro to prevent battery drainage — this is cheaper, but a bit more complicated to set up).
We are planning to publish an article to explain the various parking mode setups, as well as its pros and cons, soon. We’ll link to it here for your convenience as soon as it’s ready.
Like other BlackVue dash cams, the DR900S can connect to the BlackVue Cloud if you have a portable access point in your car. The cloud allows you to view live footage from anywhere over the internet, send alerts to your phone, and talk directly to the driver using two-way voice communication.
At this time, BlackVue are the only brand that let you live stream video from your dash cam.
A basic version of BlackVue’s cloud account is available for free, allowing you to stream a limited number of minutes per day. If you’d like to stream more than a few minutes, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid account.
The BlackVue DR900S-2CH comes with a built-in GPS antenna. A blue LED on the back of the camera indicates GPS connectivity.
As the DR900S has no screen, setup is done via Wi-Fi. You can connect your smart phone to the camera using a free app that’s available for Android and iOS. Both 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi are supported.
Voice notifications let you know that your camera is functioning properly, with messages such as “start normal recording” when you turn on your car. When coming out of parking mode, the camera will also alert you via voice message if any events have been recorded while you were away.
You can use Wi-Fi to play back video on the spot, however they won’t be transferred in full quality to save bandwidth and reduce transfer times. (This makes sense as most portable viewing devices like phones cannot display 4K resolution videos anyway.)
To see your footage in full 4K glory, you’ll need to pop out the memory card and stick them in a playback device — ideally a laptop or desktop computer connected to a large screen.
It goes without saying that all dash cameras reviewed on this site support loop recording and auto on/off, and also with date, time, and speed stamps. The latter are displayed in a status bar at the bottom of the screen. Speed stamps can be turned off if you prefer.
For some reason, the status bar uses a font that looks like it’s straight from a 1980s PC — we would have expected a more modern-looking font for a 2018 high-end 4K camera. This is not a huge issue by any means, but it does look like a bit of a mismatch.
The DR900S has a proximity sensor that can be activated by simply waving your hand near to it. This sensor can be used either to toggle audio recording, or (recommended) as a lock file button to flag any video segments that you wish to save from being overwritten when the camera cycles over the memory card.
A high temperature cutoff function is included that will power the device down in case it gets so hot as to potentially suffer damage from overheating.
Upgrading From Older BlackVue Models
If you’re considering to upgrade your existing BlackVue camera to a DR900S, you may be wondering whether you can reuse your existing cabling and mounts, or if you’ll have to install everything anew.
The answer is, it depends on which model you currently have installed:
- If you have a DR750S, you can reuse everything: Cables, mounts, and even the rear camera itself. Rear cameras are the same for the two models — just swap the front camera and you’re good.
- If you have a DR650S or DR650GW, you can reuse the cables (including the front-to-rear video cable) and the rear camera mount, but not the front camera mount.
- For most other BlackVue cameras, you can reuse the power cable and the rear camera mount.
Full details here.
Conclusion: Is This Camera Worth Buying?
The DR900S is definitely a high-quality, high-end dash cam that combines a huge number of cutting-edge features. While having 4K video sounds pretty impressive in theory, do keep in mind that this resolution actually degrades night time performance.
That being said, buffered parking mode and video streaming over the cloud are great features to have. However, these are already available with the DR750S. On the other hand, if you can do without cloud connectivity and are just looking for the camera with the best video quality all around, we recommend the Street Guardian SG9663DC.
BlackVue DR900S-2CH Video Samples
Note that YouTube compresses video, reducing quality, so the original videos recorded by the dashboard camera will be of better quality than the samples you see here.
Make sure to watch on full screen and select maximum video resolution (using the cog icon in the lower right corner).
Day Time Front Video Sample
Forward video at day is very good. Colors are vivid, and license plates of nearby cars are easy to read.
Day Time Rear Video Sample
Rear video quality at day is good. License plates of other cars are clearly readable, though sometimes it is necessary to pause the video to do so.
Night Time Front Video Sample
Forward video quality at night is fair. You can clearly see what is going on, however the video is slightly fuzzy even on a brightly lit road. License plates are often difficult to read.
Night Time Rear Video Sample
Rear video at night is fair as well. There’s a lot of glare from other cars’ headlights, but license plates of other cars are readable when close.
Where To Buy
The BlackVue DR900S-2CH is available for sale from the following vendors: